Sterling Bank’s Ezra Eckhardt Honored as Washington’s Chief Operating Officer of the Year

  Sterling Bank’s Ezra Eckhardt Honored as Washington’s Chief Operating
  Officer of the Year

 Recognized by Seattle Business magazine for industry & community leadership

Business Wire

SEATTLE -- February 1, 2013

Ezra Eckhardt, chief operating officer for Sterling Financial Corporation
(NASDAQ: STSA) and president of its subsidiaries, Sterling Bank and Sonoma
Bank, was named Washington state’s chief operating officer of the year at
Seattle Business magazine’s inaugural 2013 Executive Excellence Awards dinner.
The event was hosted last night at the Seattle Four Seasons Hotel and was
created to recognize exceptional senior executives and inspirational leaders
in Washington state. Eckhardt received this recognition for his industry
leadership and community involvement.

As chief operating officer, Eckhardt oversees the branch operations,
residential mortgage lending, product management, customer relations and
administrative functions for Sterling, Washington state’s largest financial
institution and one of the country’s leading community banks. Eckhardt became
chief operating officer in 2009 and reports to Sterling CEO Greg Seibly.

“Ezra’s natural leadership and understanding of banking operations were
instrumental during Sterling Bank’s recent turn towards profitable growth and
financial stability. His commitment to Sterling is an inspiration to all of
us,” Seibly said. “This award is also a reflection of the progress and
momentum Sterling has made over the past year and I could not be more pleased
to see him receive such a deserved recognition as COO of the Year.”

Eckhardt has more than 20 years of banking, business and military leadership
experience, including previous management roles at Microsoft and Honeywell. He
is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and
earned his master of business administration from Gonzaga University. He
serves on the board of the directors of Gonzaga Preparatory School and is a
member of the Greater Spokane Incorporated Executive Committee. Eckhardt and
his family reside in Spokane, Wash.

About Sterling Bank

Sterling Savings Bank, the principal operating subsidiary of Sterling
Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA) of Spokane, Washington, is a Washington
state chartered and federally insured commercial bank. Sterling Savings Bank
does business as Sterling Bank and, in California, Sonoma Bank. Sterling
offers banking products and services, mortgage lending, and trust and
investment products to individuals, small businesses, corporations and other
commercial organizations. As of December 31, 2012, Sterling had assets of
$9.24 billion and operated depository branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho
and California. Visit Sterling’s website at


Sterling Bank
Cara L. Coon, 509-626-5348
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